The 31 performance run of Josh Roche directed My Name Is Rachel Corrie finally comes to an end on Thursday night. With the Young Vic Theatre rejecting all suggestions of balance including a small exhibition of the 19 Israeli Rachels murdered by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups and a pro-Israel voice on the after show panel discussions some activists produced “Accompanying Notes” to be handed out to theatre goers outside the Young Vic.
The “Accompanying Notes”, which look similar to the official handout (see above), explain what really happened to Rachel in 2003 when she tragically died in Gaza while naively standing in front of a bulldozer when Israel was fighting Hamas:
“The investigation and court judgement showed the driver could not see her and that her death was an unfortunate accident to someone who had trespassed in a clearly marked closed military area. Rachel Corrie was not protecting a ‘home’ but a shed shielding one of the terror tunnels used to smuggle weapons and explosives. Her death was a tragic accident.”
Rachel was, in fact, protecting tunnels Hamas were using to smuggle in weapons that were causing mass murder on the streets of Israel. That crucial part of the narrative, plus that her death was an accident, were absent from the play.
The “Accompanying Notes” also explain that the play contains “unsubstantiated, context-free allegations about supposed Israeli brutality. For example, the IDF is alleged to have stopped the International Solidarity Movement retrieving a corpse, is accused of destroying wells and being engaged in a ‘constant attempt to remove Palestinians from their home.'”
They also explain how Rachel, an ISM member, misinterprets the Fourth Geneva Convention.
We had tickets for the Saturday night production. The theatre holds 70 and when we entered the actress playing Rachel (Erin Doherty) was lying on the floor listening to music with the main prop on stage being a part of Israel’s security wall painted a light red, obviously denoting blood. The stage floor was also painted red.
The show was, basically, an hour and a half of emotional blackmail as Doherty played out edited scenes from the young Rachel’s diaries. The audience occasionally laughed at her naivety and attempts to change the world.
It was dull. The hour and a half passed slowly.
Nearing the end Rachel describes how the Israeli army, apparently, destroyed wells in Gaza, shot at children and how Rachel failed to retrieve a dead Gazan while being shot at by the IDF. Rachel also offers Gazans money for their hospitality but they wouldn’t take any preferring for Rachel to go back to America to tell their story.
At the end Doherty gives a very short, uncorroborated account of how Rachel died. It’s by “eyewitness Tom Dale” who described the Israeli bulldozer driver seeing Rachel before killing her. But, as stated above, this is not the case.
Israeli courts have sent Israeli soldiers to prison when evidence supports such a conviction so there’s no reason they wouldn’t have done the same in this case. Tom Hurndall’s killer, in similar circumstances, and IDF soldier Azaria were sent to prison.
As Doherty took her two ovations Jonathan Hoffman, from the middle of the audience, stood and unfurled the Israeli flag in front of her. It was a small act of defiance against a nasty play and staging that only adds poison to the world.
(For more analysis of the court case read here)